Once your little one is born in this world, you have the choice to feed through breastmilk or a feeding bottle.

Though it is absolutely advised that children should get breast milk for the first 6 months, some mother cannot feed their breastmilk to their babies.

This leaves the option of using formula milk through bottle feeding.

While formula milk is nutritious, it lacks the antibodies breast milk provides.

Moreover, it also has some consequences on oral health.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of using bottle feeders and how you can responsibly give it to your child to prevent oral health problems.

Keep reading to know more!

baby using feeding bottle


Pros of Using a Feeding Bottle

One of the biggest advantages of using a bottle feeder is that anyone can feed the baby.

This can help the new mom who might be still dealing with postpartum issues.

Also, it gives the chance to the father to bond with his child.

Breastfeeding only allows for bonding with the mother but bottle feeding can give this opportunity to other family members as well.

Hence, it can increase the child’s closeness with the rest of the family including the father, siblings and grandparents.

Moreover, if the mother cannot feed the baby due to her health condition then using formula milk is a safe alternative for them.

Hence, in this way, the mother’s medical conditions will not affect their child.

Also, there is a rare chance of babies getting lactose intolerance from breast and animal milk.

In this case, feeding soy protein or formula milk through a bottle can provide your child with enough nutrition to grow healthy.

Another advantage is that you can keep tabs on the quantity you feed your child.

It is difficult to measure the amount of milk fed to children through breast milk however, you can accurately know their daily milk intake using a feeding bottle.

Also, it is convenient for the mothers as they can feed their children anywhere.

If your child feeds hungry in public then you can easily feed them using a bottle.

As a mother, you do not have to eat specific fruits and vegetables to supply breast milk.

Therefore, there are no dietary restrictions and neither do you have to fret about insufficient milk.

You do not have to depend on breast milk’s supply hence they will be well-fed using the formula milk.

If there are pros, there are cons to using it too.

Let’s find them out!

cavities in kids


Cons of Using Feeding Bottle on Oral Health

If your child only drinks through a bottle then they are at risk of getting baby bottle tooth decay.

It is usually referred to as using bottles to put a child to sleep.

Hence, your child only goes to sleep while drinking from the bottle.

You may use a feeding bottle to give your child formula milk, animal milk or even water and juices.

Hence, if they carry it with them and sleep while drinking, this exposes their teeth to sugars.

Hence, your child is at a greater risk of getting tooth decay and cavities.

It affects the upper front teeth the most but can also decay the others.

This is because usually, the nipple will prevent the sugars from washing away from the incisors.

Hence, they will collect on them without letting the saliva clean the sugars.

The lower incisors are at risk too.

However, the tongue and saliva still protect them but not the top incisors.

Parents usually give feeders to children to soothe them to sleep.

But what results is worse for them.

Therefore, you should avoid giving them feeders especially before sleep.

Toddlers can also get decay from these bottles if they carry them around all the time.

Rather than allowing them to carry the bottles at all times, parents should only give them during meals.

This way the salivary flow from eating can wash away the sugars.

Children can also get decay from parents and children sharing the same spoon.

Parents’ oral bacteria can transfer to children’s mouths, therefore, always give them a separate spoon.

You can prevent baby bottle tooth decay in children by stopping giving them sugary drinks at night.

baby bottle tooth decay

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The best option is to not give your child a drink but a pacifier to put them to sleep.

While a pacifier is not that great for them either and can affect the shape of teeth especially the incisors, it is better than a bottle of sugars.

Therefore, let them suck on a pacifier to go to sleep.

If you cannot get rid of the bottles then at least you can at least not give them juices or milk at night.

Skip the sugars, rather only pour water in their drink.

If there is no option and your child insists on drinking milk then remove it as soon as they stop drinking.

Do not let them sleep with it at any cost, even if the bottle is empty.

You can also try to limit their dietary sugars by not putting any sugary drinks such as juices in their bottles.

Oral care begins when a child is born.

Hence, do not wait for their teeth to erupt to care for their gums.

Start wiping their gums after they drink milk from a bottle.

Use a warm washcloth and also clean their teeth after they erupt.

child using sippy cup

Brush their teeth as soon as they erupt and floss them when two teeth touch.

Moreover, it is best to start giving children a cup by they are 6 months old.

Though it may not be always possible.

Hence, should be weaned by they are a year old.

Gradually start shifting them from the bottles to the sippy cups.

While sippy cups are not as good for children either, at least they are better than bottles.

Try your best that your child starts using regular cups and glasses soon.

Also, take them for a dental visit six months after their first tooth erupts.

mom giving a feeding bottle to child

Breastfeeding vs Bottle Feeding

Breastfeeding can delay the onset of early childhood cavities.

This is because of the fact that your child is not always drinking breast milk.

However, nursing at night can also be problematic for their teeth and gums as it is similar to sleeping with a bottle of milk.

If you breastfeed your child then it should at least be a year.

A child that feeds on less than 6 months of breast milk will likely then suck on pacifiers.

As children develop the habit of pacifiers it is even more difficult to let them go.

Hence, it can impact their teeth in the long run.

These children may need teeth braces later in life.

Another reason for weaning your 1-year-old is that calcium and phosphate decrease in breast milk after a year.

Thus, your child’s enamel is at risk of cavities now.

Hence, if your child is breastfed for 18 months then they are susceptible to getting cavities because of the lack of these minerals that strengthen the enamel.

On the other hand bottle feeders have their cons too.

Children going to sleep with a bottle of milk can get a baby bottle tooth decay.

The sugars accumulate right around the upper incisors and the nipple prevents the saliva from washing them away.

Also, children that feed on for longer than 18 months on bottles can get buck teeth.

Their upper jaw can have a forward position than their lower jaw.

Thus their two front teeth can be more forward than the rest of their teeth.

Hence, both breastfeeding and bottle feeding have their cons.

While it is recommended to at least feed your child breast milk for 6 months, listen to your health provider’s advice for your case.

Just ensure they do not get bad oral health through both ways.

baby with tooth decay

Other Cons of Feeders to Consider

Besides all this, feeding bottles are an added expense.

You need bottles, formula milk, sterilizer and cleaning brushes.

Moreover, maintaining them is a task too.

You need to sterilize them regularly otherwise it can compromise your child’s health.

Plus, breast milk contains antibodies that strengthen your child’s immunity but formula milk does not.

They can get infections and diseases such as diarrhea, ear infection and more.

Also, it affects the bonding mothers can achieve with the child.

While it is helpful that feeders can help the baby bond with the family, it is not quite the same with mothers who breastfeed.

Also, let’s not forget, breastfeeding is good for the new mother.

You have fewer chances of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer later in your life if you have breastfed your child.

Maintaining the bottles and buying the right equipment is time-consuming.

Plus it requires effort but more importantly, see if it is even worth it.

If your child will have oral health problems from a feeding bottle that will impact their quality of life then it may be better to go for breast milk instead.

However, if you are in no position to breastfeed then you just need to take a few precautionary measures like not giving them milk or juices at all times and especially while sleeping to prevent cavities.

Also, you should try they quit using the feeder by they are a year old.

This will keep your child fed and prevent them from getting oral health problems.